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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


GUIC S, Eliana; MORA O, Pablo; REY C, Ricardo  and  ROBLES G, Alfonso. Perceived work characteristics and coping strategies that predict distress among workers at primary health care centers. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2006, vol.134, n.4, pp.447-455. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Demands on primary health care services in Chile are increasing. The staff perception of specific sources of tension at work is not known. This knowledge is necessary to avoid preventable health problems caused by distress. Aim: To identify specific work stressors in primary health care facilities and to examine individual characteristics that could mediate their effects on health. Material and Methods: We evaluated organizational stressors (Perceived Work Characteristics for Health Services Survey), personal characteristics (Work Locus of Control Scale, Ways of Coping Check List) and distress (Goldberg General Health Questionnaire, Cooper Stress Symptoms Checklist) in a representative sample of 129 workers of 5 public Primary Health Care Centers of a borough in Santiago. Results: Women and non-professional personnel reported more psychological and physical stress symptoms. Regression analysis showed that work stressors significantly explained the variance of psychological (26%) and physical (28%) distress symptoms. Perception of more role conflicts, less support of peers and superiors and less workload were predictors significantly associated with higher stress outcomes. Avoidance coping strategies were associated with more distress and mediated the effect of organizational stressors on health. Conclusions: We identified the groups at risk of stress in Primary Health Care Centers and specific sources of tension in the organization, as well as individual risk factors. Both should be addressed in interventions to reduce distress and prevent consequences on health

Keywords : Life change events; Primary health care; Stress, psychological.

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